Saturday, September 29, 2012

Walks To Remember

Some of the routes we walk here at Pilot Dogs are very similar. Some have rough sidewalks, some have smoother ones. Some include street crossings with traffic lights and sometimes we cross streets with stop signs. Sometimes we go alone with a trainer, and other times we go with a second person or in a group. Sometimes the walks are uneventful and begin to run together in my mind. But, on Thursday and Friday such was not to be. Thursday morning was rainy, so the trainers set up an obstacle coarse in one of the hallways. We held our dogs’ harness handles and told them forward. The dogs were to lead us through that obstacle coarse and keep us from running in to whatever was there. Our jobs were to follow where the dog lead and pay attention to the signals coming from the harnesses. I can’t speak for anyone else, but my pup and I did it perfectly both times. In the afternoon, the rain seemed to have moved out, so my trainer said to get ready; we were taking the bus down town. I made sure there was a small plastic bag in my pocket in case my girl had an accident and headed with my trainer out the front door. We walked to the bus stop and sat down on a bench to wait. So far, so good. The bus came, and I told the driver where I wanted to get off at. And, in case you are wondering, my trainer told me what to say, because I don’t know down town Columbus. lol Anyway, while riding the bus, my trainer showed me how to turn my leash in to a muzzle. Poor puppy, I thought she felt shamed in front of everyone, but thankfully our stop came then, and I got to take the muzzle off. With buses going to and fro, people passing and talking, traffic heading here and there, sirenes blaring all over the place it was not what you’d call a peaceful walk. We crossed busy streets, wound our way through over a hundred people out on the sidewalks, and were doing well until... All of a sudden, my dog starts acting funny. She kept pulling me to the right and then the left. She was nervous and quivery, and I couldn’t figure out what the deal was. Then, right there in the middle of that crowd of over a hundred, she hunkered down and laid a nice, big, smelly pile on to the sidewalk. Remembering the days from my first dog, I quickly placed my foot near her butt, reached in my pocket for a baggie, and when she stood up, used the baggie like a glove and picked it up. I gave my doggie’s present to my trainer who through it away for me. Then, I wiped the perspiration from my face and began walking again. “We’re coming up on Broad Street,” my trainer said a minute or 2 later. “That’s the one that has 6 lanes. Right?” “Yep,” he said, “but you can do it.” “You hope,” I thought, praying silently to myself. Standing at Broad Street, which btw is a broad street, it began to rain. It was a light rain, but it was rain all the same. I waited, listening to the traffic in front of me and to my left. When I felt it was safe, I told my dog forward and we headed out. Six lanes later, we made it to the otherside, and I breathed a sigh of relief. I was going to live to tell the tale. We went in to a CVS, where my girl tried to take me to the prescription counter and ran me in to a case of something that thankfully did not tip over. When we came out of there, we went to another curb and waited for the light to change. I was about to go, when I heard a fire truck and another sirene which was probably an ambulance. So, I waited. They past right by us, and my poor little girl shook her head a couple of times. You know it had to be hurting her ears, but she never showed anymore signs of distress. When the sirenes were gone, we crossed and boarded another bus. By this time, the rain was coming down a bit heavier, and I was glad for the driness of the bus. I was dropped off about 3 streets away from Pilot dogs and had to walk down some broken sidewalks in order to get back. This was a route I had done before, so it was not hard, but about 2 blocks from the school, the rain came pouring down. Then, just as I was crossing the last street, I stepped in a big mud puddle and got both feet wet. My girl stopped in the middle of the street to shake, and I almost fell. Fshew! Was I glad to get back all in one piece! On Friday morning we had a test. We were given a set of directions and were expected to follow them and come back to the school. I did well. The route was about 6 blocks, and the trainer even said what a good job I was doing. When I got back, a trainer asked if I wanted to take another walk. Of course, I said yes, and he paired me with another student. This student uses a walking cane for balance, as well as a dog to lead him, so how could I say no, when my challenges are not as many as his? Our walk was good, but similar to the test that morning. After lunch, another trainer asked if my partner and I wanted to go to a convenience store. Again, we said yes. Some of the worst crossings are up that way, but we did it. The store is about 7 blocks away, which means to go there and back, we walked about 14 blocks. I bought some doughnuts while there, and my pup only sniffed a little. :) We got back, and I was thinking that my legs were aching from all that walking, when the director of Pilot Dogs asked if I’d do some walking in the park outside, because there was a film crew wanting some background footage. Well, y’all, of course I didn’t say no. Ha! So, for about 20 minutes, another student and I walked back and forth through the school’s alumni park. Then and only then was my walking over for the day. Walks to remember? You betcha! This afternoon, I’m told we’re going to WalMart, so it should be interesting. The entire class is going as a group, so I’m looking for a good time. I think we’re allowed to buy some stuff for our dogs, so we’ll see. It should be another memorable trip. Wow, 2 more days until I go home. I’m excited, and nervous, too. Missing my family a whole lot, but i’ve met some wonderful folks up here, and I’m going to miss them, as well. Well, it’s about 30 minutes before lunch and I’d like to post this if I can. So, until next time, keep on keeping on. :)

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Learning to Wait

No nuggets of wisdom are coming to me this morning. :) Yesterday was busy, and today isn’t much different. But, I’ve set aside some time to write. Now that I brought the mac book in to the computer room, plugged it in, and got everything settled, I dont’ know what to say. Yesterday, I went on a 45 minute walk. My pup and I did pretty well except for vearing a couple of times. She did walk right past a cat without even blinking, though. lol In the afternoon we worked a couple of street crossings with traffic lights. I was nervous, I don’t mind telling you. There was the normal traffic in front of me, the parallel traffic beside and there was a highway above my head with traffic zooming back and forth. Talk about hard to hear. But, we did just fine. You know, I sure am glad I can pray for folks whenever and wherever I am. I’m also glad I can pray for myself while I’m out walking unfamiliar routes with my dog. Yesterday while out on a street corner, a Bible verse came to mind. I do not have time to look it up, so I’ll try and quote it as best I can. “They that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strenghth. They shall mount up with wings as eagles. They shall run and not be weary, they shall walk and not faint.” I might fail a test. I might answer a question wrong. I might even step out in to the street at the wrong time, but if I wait on the Lord and trust Him, I will never be a failure. Repeating this to myself on a minute by minute basis is how I get through those hair-raising trips around here. Y’all think I’m kidding, but I’m dead serious. Some folks in class walk faster that I. Some handle their dogs better. But, in the end, that doesn’t matter. What matters is mine and my dog’s safety. What matters is whether I trust my Lord. So, like the song says, “Teach me, Lord, oh teach me Lord, how to wait.”

Monday, September 24, 2012

A Sunday at Guide Dogs School

The weather here yesterday was almost perfect. It was cool in the morning, about 47 I think, but it warmed to about 63 in the afternoon with the sunshine streaming down. I checked the weather on my iPhone last night, and I think today is supposed to be about the same. My new girl and I took 2 walks yesterday and worked on obedience. I have to put in here, she and I both needed it all. :) The obedience was done outside in a parking lot where there is lots of room to walk around and not bump in to anything. There were 4 students and 4 dogs in all out there, and the trainer was able to meet everyone’s individual needs. The first walk was in a park on the school’s property. There’s only one way in and one way out and the way is the same. :) It’s a cement path with bricks and pavers throughout it. There are some obstacles that one might find out in the “real world”, and I hope to spend more time out there to brush up on those little things like skinny sidewalks, sharpt turns, steps, bushes growing close to the sidewalk and the occasional squirrel or 2. :) My second walk was along city streets. There is a spot with broken sidewalk, a curb that is rounded, trees in the way, pets barking from their homes, traffic and everything else you can find on a city block. My confidence began to really soar as we walked, and I noticed my girl looking back at me several times as if to ask, “You all right back there?” One thing I have noticed about myself is I can’t memorize information when someone is constantly talking close to my head. lol By the time I study the current curb or street crossing, I have already forgotten what I did the corner before. As far as street names, I remember the names but not where they are. Ha! I need to brush up on this, and thankfully, this place has maps I can feel with street names in braille. I forgot how much I get a kick out of hearing a dog snore. She snores and you can tell by her breathing, she is dreaming. It’s funny. Today will be my first week day of training, and I’m told it’s a lot different than the weekend. But, I’m glad I had a couple of slower days to get settled. Not that I got much sleep...regular coffee after 6 in the evening doesn’t make for a pleasant sleep, but I’m not nervous or afraid. I feel at peace about my new pup and I as a working team. Well, I’m going to go hook up to the internet and post this. Mornings come early around here, and I want to get it finished before I take my girl out. After she does her business, I’ll dish out some grub and put it in her bowl. Then, I’ll get me some coffee and sit out in the lounge and enjoy it. So, until next time, keep smiling and remember God loves you!

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Well, I Made It!

Four and a half hours on a Gray Hound bus isn’t the funnest thing I’ve ever done, but it sure isn’t the worst, either. The drivers were very helpful, and I made it to Columbus in one piece. But, I’m glad I’m riding in a car on the way home. One of the first things I did when I got here was take a juno walk. A juno walk is when a trainer holds one end of a harness and the student holds the handle and allows the trainer to lead the student, simulating how it would be if a dog was leading the person who is blind. My trainer and I walked around outside, going across streets, down sidewalks and around trees and broken concrete. Trainers do a juno walk in order to determine what type of dog is best for the person. Just as people walk differently, dogs walk and lead different. When we finished with that, I got settled in my room. I unpacked my suit case and put things away. I have a room mate, so we chatted a bit, as well. I called home to make sure my girls were all right. They were, and I felt even better. We had dinner at 5 and a lecture after that. Between dinner and the lecture, my trainer showed me around the facility. After the lecture, I called home again. The babies were missing me, and I think the hubby was, too. :) I sang to them, blew kisses over the phone and told them just how much I love them. But, the call was shorter than I wanted it to be. Around 8:30 or 9 my trainer asked me to go to my room and wait. I waited, but I was so nervous I couldn’t hardly sit still. Several minutes later, here he came with a new dog. She is a black Engllish lab, and she is a sweetie. She wasn’t too interested in me at first, but after she had time to sniff the entire room and check out the place, she came right to me. I guess she wanted to secure the place before she said hello. :) We stayed in the room alone for a little while, getting to know each other, and then I gave her a bath. The trainer helped me, and I was glad for the help. It had been six years, after all since I had a dog. I didn’t get too wet, though, and she got clean, so I reckon it was a win win situation. I didn’t get to bed until 11:30 that evening, and when I did lay down I spent some time chatting with my roomy before I slept. But, being me, I only slept until 4. I waited to get up at 5, got my shower and took my pup out to pee. All in all, my first day and first night here went very well. Yesterday was spent walking with my new dog outside and listening to more instruction. There was some down time, but I really enjoyed talking with the other students. I like learning about others and where they came from. Their stories are always interesting, and sometimes learning about others’ difficulties, helps me remember just how blessed I am. I slept better last night, and today looks like another good day. I’m missing my husband and girls, but i know they are fine. They will be going to our church’s home coming service today, and I wish my pup and I were there to go with them. But, in another way, I’m glad my girl and I have time to bond before the craziness of home. My pup doesn’t know me very well, yet, and I don’t know her. The more time we spend together, the more we will learn each other. I think it’s a good match. Y’all know i went to another school to get my first dog. Well, this school is different, but I like the smallness of the class. I like the home-like atmosphere of the place. No one’s in a hurry, no one expects me to go beyond what I can do, and yet I am still being challenged. I’d like some coffee before breakfast, so I’d better hurry and finish this. I don’t know how often I will blog, but I will as often as possible. So, until next time, keep on keeping on.

Thursday, September 20, 2012

The Last Night Before...

I thought a good dinner would take my tummy ache away, but it didn’t. I haven’t had much caffeine today, so I’m hoping I won’t be too keyed up to sleep. I know I keep telling y’all how nervous and excited I am, so I’ll try to stop repeating myself, but I just can’t believe I am going to do this! My suit case is all packed, except for those few last minute things, all my laundry is caught up, for now, and there’s really nothing else to do but enjoy this last night with my family. Deed, well, I thought I would have something to say each day, but I believe I’ve already said all that needs saying. Tomorrow isn’t here, and I don’t have any guarantees that it will ever come. For some folks, tomorrow never came. Lord, help me be ready to meet you, if my tomorrow isn’t meant to come. It’s almost bedtime for my girls, and so this will be short, but I just wanted to post one last time before I leave. I’ll be packing up the mac book either later tonight or early in the morning, so this is the last you faithful readers will hear from me until I’m in Columbus. When it comes time for stuff like this, I guess all I can say is in God I trust. He knows my strengths, my weaknesses, what makes me happy and what makes me sad. He knows what His plans are for me and mine, and when it’s His appointed time, He will let me know. So, pray for me, pray for yourselves, and come back soon; I’m sure when I get settled, I’ll have quite a lot to say.

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Just Two More Days

There’s a suit case in my living room floor with my clothes in it. It doesn’t have all my things, but it’s real close. After one more load of laundry, I think I will only have the last minute stuff to pack, like toothbursh and meds and such. I did manage last night to buy buttons and sewed them on to my sweater this morning. I crocheted the button holes and edging, tried it on and now it’s packed with all my other things. The sweater met my mommy’s approval, so I’m feeling good about it. :) My girls and I had a special science lesson today. We baked coco puff muffins. It was a mix from a box, something I don’t normally do, and I was surprised at how much simpler it was not baking from scratch. lol But, my second grader got to crack an egg and help measure out ingredients and both girls got to stir the batter. I think they tasted it, too, but I never saw a thing. ;) The muffins were surprisingly pretty good, but I didn’t like the candy things inside the batter. But, my babies and I were together, we had fun, they turned out good, and that’s all that matters. So many thoughts and emotions are running around inside my head, I don’t even know how I’m feeling. Excited about getting a new dog, nervous at going to a place I’ve never been, anxiety over whether I remembered to pack everything, sadness over leaving my husband and girls, sorrow that my great aunt is dying, and some grief because my great aunt's condition reminds me of my mamaw. I won’t be here to attend the services for my papaw’s sister, and that is bothering me, too. On top of all that, my littlest one is getting a cold. Life doesn’t stop for anyone, and neither does death. Plans are made, and we just have to keep going. Things happen, and we just have to trust in God that He will bring us through and give us strength to face what comes our way. I’m reminded of a song. “I have a source of strength when I am weak, that helps me through when life is pressing me. I have a source of power from above. I’m covered over by a shield of love. I claim the blood Jesus shed on calvary. Those precious blood stains were made there just for me. Through all my sin, my sickness and my pain, when I need healing, I just claim those precious blood stains.” Here’s the part i like. “I do not know how others make it through, who never go to calvary as I do. For there’s a healing, cleansing stream still floes with peace that only His redeemed can know.” God bless you all, and if you can’t think of anyone to pray for, and you’re tired of praying for me, remember those in the nursing homes and hospitals, tonight. Be glad, if you aren’t in one, that you aren’t.

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Three To Go

A lot is going through my head today, so much that I won’t even try to share it all. I didn’t sleep well last night, and it has been pouring the rain, and add those two together, and you get someone who might go on emotions rather than facts. You also will get someone who can’t stop writing run-on sentences. lol Only three days to go. Wow, I’m having a hard time believing it. In less than three days, actually, I’ll be in Columbus. Whenever I stopped to think about it, I get this surge of something between excitement, nervousness and unreality. I mean, I haven’t done anything like this since before I met my husband. Of course, my man and I did pick up and move almost three hundred miles away a few years ago, but that was different; he was with me. This time, I’m packing up and heading off alone for ten days. Am I crazy? The furthest I’ve been away from home on my own was taking the bus twenty miles down town. Now, I’m about to take a bus almost two hundred miles to a different state! Am i doing the right thing? I must be, because God keeps confirming things. A little while ago, I was kind of half worrying half praying about a situation, which I had no answer for. The only answer I was getting was to just do what I could and not stress about the rest. Then, right out of the blue, my husband sends me a text with the answer. Of course, he didn’t know what was on my heart, but God did, and He used someone else to answer my prayer. I just love it when He does that. I did a little packing today and a lot of laundry. :) tomorrow I’ll do more laundry and more packing. Thursday I’ll probably do even more. Ha! There was a bit of crying around here today, too, and I expect there will be more. I guess it’s all a part of growing up for my babies, though...and for me. lol You know, I wish I could call my mamaw up on the phone and talk to her. I know I know how to pack a suit case, but I wish I had someone to talk about it with as I packed. She would listen, she would do a lot of telling me what and when to do, and all the while she would be telling me how much she loved me and thinking inside her head how she could feed my new dog without me knowing about it. :) Well, in honor of the third day before I leave, I have to put this in here. When I hear three days, my first thought is that Jesus was in the grave for three days, Jonah was in the belly of the whale for three days, and the apostle Paul was blind for three days after the Lord spoke to him on the road to Damascus. So, there must be some significance about three days. Hmm, will have to study that one out. Ok, y’all, it’s almost time for the man of the house to get home from work, and I’m starving. So, until tomorrow, keep smiling and remember God loves each and every one of you.

Monday, September 17, 2012

Four Days

What comes to your mind when you hear, “Four days”? Let’s see, there’s a four day work week, something most people wish they had. There’s a four day weekend, something else most folks wish they had. :) There’s a song called “Four Days Late”, which, BTW is an awesome song. And, the only other four days i can think of is four days left until I leave to get my knew dog. Y’all knew that was coming, didn’t ya? hahaha! This morning I went to the Post Office to see if my bus ticket to Columbus was there. Sad to say, it was not. After that, I let my homeschooled girls play outside while the weather was good. Then, I brought them in and got them some lunch to munch on. After that, my aunt came and drove us down to the Hospice House to see my grandfather’s sister. She isn’t doing well, so your prayers would mean a lot. As we were leaving, a cousin of mine leaned over her bed and said “I love you, Grandma.” Made me remember my own grandma. For now, though, my cousin has the peace of knowing she left the place, her grandma still living. The last time I leaned over my mamaw and told her I loved her, was the day I left knowing she had died. See, y’all, death isn’t a graduation. Death isn’t our friend. It’s the enemy. But, death is swallowed up in victory! Oh, grave, where is thy sting? Oh, grave, where is thy victory? Jesus overcame the grave, and someday, we will, too. Thanks be to God who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ. So, my beloved brothers and sisters be ye steadfast, unmovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord. For, as ye know, your labor is NOT in vain! Jesus is coming; ready or not, He is coming back to receive us unto Himself that where He is, there we can be. Amen? Amen! Wow, ya’ll expected a post about getting ready for guide dog school. :) I’m not sorry, though. After all, this blog is called “Old Time Christian”, and what kind of Christian would I be if I left my saviour out of it all? Why, I’d be a hypocrit, that’s what. I am starting to feel overwhelmed, though, and I haven’t even started packing. Tomorrow is my major laundry day. Gonna wash everything I can, including my shoes. I not only have my things to pack, but some stuff to pack for my kids while I’m gone. But, if I can’t think of anything to be thankful for at the moment, it’s first of all I’m alive to think, and second, I ain’t gotta do it tonight. Tonight, I’m gettin’ ready for bed! So, until next time, ZZZZZZZZZ

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Five Days Left

I have a warning for all you faithful readers out there. I might not keep on topic today. Yeah, yeah, I know that surprises you, but it’s just how I am. Ha! I’ve always heard the best place to start is the beginning, so the first thing on my mind is intentions. We can have good intentions, but until we do something about them, they are as useless as an air conditioner in winter. I intended to buy buttons for my new sweater at WalMart today, but I never made it to WalMart. Intended on picking up my meds at WalMart’s pharmacy, but I nev...oh yeah, done said that. I didn’t make it to WalMart because we stayed at my in-law’s longer than I thought we would. We might have left earlier, but I didn’t know what time the pharmacy closed. I could have called to check, but I forgot the phone number. So, I guess the moral of this story is, be better prepared. Sunday School was pretty cool this morning, if I do say so myself. I got to teach a class. Thankfully, it had not been long since I studied a few lessons and could pull one out of my hat. I had two students, both boys. One was in the fifth grade and the other was in the eighth. Both did a lot of talking about football. Y’all know how much I know about football? Well, let’s just say I no nothing and keep it at that. lol I told the guys I grew up with three sisters and only had girls in my house, and the younger boy said, “Well, you could adopt a boy.” lol We sang a song during our class time, and after I mentioned this to the church during morning worship, without much prodding my fifth grader got up and came to the front, crutches and all just to sing with me. Kind of made me feel special. It doesn’t seem real that in less than a week I’ll be paired with a new dog. Sometimes, I want my new dog to look like my first one and act like him, too. Other times, I pray they give me a dog that looks and acts nothing like him. Kind of glad the decision is out of my hands. I’ve been told by those who have been to Pilot Dogs that one of the first things a student is required to do is bathe their dog. I gotta admit here, folks that my first reaction was one of horror. I mean, give a dog a bath? Before I got my first guide dog, I was terrified of dogs and knew practically nothing about them. Not a bit sorry I chose a school back then that did not ask that of me. But, having had a dog before, the whole idea isn’t so bad. I hope I’m allowed to put on a big apron or something, cause if the new dog is anything like George was, I’m gonna git wet! Something else on the brain today is trash cans. Yep, I have a trashy mind. Hahaha! One thing to keep in mind if you are new to dogs in the house is that they like to investigate what’s in your trash, so a can with a lid, IMHO is a must. planning to get some before I leave, but if I forget or don’t get around to it, hoping my hubby will get them for me. And, yes I said “them”. I’m needing one for inside and the other for outside to put my doggies presents in. Knowing how to clean up after your doggie is another must, in my book, and that crap has to go somewhere. A can with a good lid is a good idea. And, while I’m talking about containers, I also need to figure out how and where I’m going to store my pup’s grub. I used to put George’s dog food in a plastic container and store it in the laundry room. But, in the last six years, I’ve stored other things in that laundry room, and a container will no longer fit. And, when I do figure out where to put the dog food, the next thing will be to figure out where to keep the dog’s water and food bowls so that they are out of the general path. If you haven’t been able to pick up on it, yet, I live in a very small house, so where to put things is becoming a challenge. But, where there’s a will, there’s a way. Wow, less than five days! Excitement, nervousness, sadness at leaving my babies, but thanks be to God, there is no fear. TV with my man, a good tasting bottle of Cocacola, and another wonderful Sunday behind me. Sounds like I’m blessed, doesn’t it? I am, praise the Lord. And to you, faithful reader, thank you for reading. May God bless you by revealing Himself to you in a new and awesome way. Until tomorrow, keep prayin’, keep praisin’ and remember I’m prayin’ fer ye, too.

Saturday, September 15, 2012

Six Days and Counting

Saturdays are usually lazy days for the man of the house. As for me, most of the time on Saturdays you can find me at the kitchen sink with my hands deep in hot, sudsy water, loading and unloading the washing machine or putting away clean laundry. But, somehow I managed to get the laundry done before this Saturday, and there are not enough dishes for me to wash...yet. lol It’s nearly time for dinner, so fear not; I’ll have a sink full to wash before bedtime. This first day of the weekend has been a bit different. First of all, unless you missed the title, it is the sixth day before I leave for Pilot Dogs in Columbus Ohio to get my new guide dog. I’ve been awake since three AM thinking about dogs. What breedd of dog will I get? A stately German Shepherd named Phoebe? A little black lab named Izzy? A laid-back golden retriever named Porter? A happy yellow lab named Daisy? No way of knowing. :) Will I get him or her on Friday evening, or will I have to wait until the next day? Here are a few things I do know for sure. It will be a dog. lol 2. He or she will know how to guide a blind person. 3. Pilot Dogs, from what I’ve been told, crate their dogs at night, so my dog will be used to this. 4. The dog will already have a name before I get there. 5. The dog, no matter how much he or she loves me will take a few days to get used to the fact that I am his or her new person and not the trainer. 6. This dog will have me figured out in a matter of minutes; I will not be able to fool him or her about anything. 7. Whereas The Seeing Eye breeds all their dogs, Pilot does not. They receive most of their dogs from other breeders. Looks like I know a lot, doesn’t it? hahaha! Well, to even things out, here’s some things I do not know. As I have said before, I don’t know what breed or gender my dog is. 2. I do not know what Pilot’s facility looks like, but I do know I can navigate it, dog or not because I have been taught Orientation and Mobility. 3. I don’t know any of the staff personally, but so far from the conversations we have had over the phone, I feel confident that they are ready to help make this experience the best it can be. 4. I don’t know whether I’ll get my dog the Friday evening I arrive or the next morning. 5. I don’t know what taking the Grayhound bus to Columbus is like. 6. I don’t know whether I will crate my dog once I get home or not. Depends on whether I feel it is necessary and depends on if I have the money to buy a crate. 7. Finally, I don’t know how different this new dog will be, but I know he or she will not be like my first one. These are just a few of the things running through my head today. I googled dog crates, and unless I get me some dough, soon, I won’t be crating. But, then again, I might change my mind. Since I don’t know what kind of dog is waiting for me up there, I googled a few of the breeds that Pilot trains. In case you are interested, Animal Planet does a series on different breeds, and you can find them on YouTube. I learned a lot, actually. The breeds I researched were as follows: golden retriever, german shepherd, labrador, and standard poodle. I already told the folks up there I did not want a boxer or a doberman, so I did not research those breeds. I’m actually hoping I don’t get a poodle, simply because of their high maintenance, but if the trainer says a standard poodle is perfect for me, I’ll give that dog a chance. One thing I do want to say about Pilot Dogs. I do like the fact, I can apply online. I get so tired of asking a sighted person to fill out printed forms, so it was nice, for a change to just do it myself. After filling out the online form, Pilot did send some print papers. One I needed to sign to prove what I put on the internet was true. The others were for doctors to fill out, and I’m sure glad they were sighted and able to fill them out. lol But, I’ve yapped the entire time about my new dog and Pilot. Never did tell y’all why this day was different. :) So, this morning my girls and I went to the park here in town. My 7-year-old can’t seem to figure out how to swing. hahaha, so I took some time teaching her...again. lol We had fun. A little, black and white dog came to visit us while we were there. He never barked or even came near enough to touch. He just sat near my 4-year-old while she was on the swings. He yawned and scratched an itch, my daughter said, and when we left, he followed us. Sometimes, he walked in front of my girls who were in front of me, which meant my girls got caned accidentally, but we finally got things smoothed out. The dog didn’t try to follow us in the Post Office, which would have been funny. Instead, he waited and followed us almost all the way home. He left us at our back gate. :) We came in and opened our packages that we got in the mail, and then ate some lunch. Knowing I needed to take some soap and lotion to Pilot, I decided a few days ago to order some stuff from Clean Logic. You can google that, too, if you like. They put braille on their bottles, so folks who are blind will know which bottle is which. Nothing like getting your body wash mixed up with your lotion. lol My Clean Logic came in today’s mail, and so far I’m well pleased with it. Don’t have to ask a sighted person what is what, and that’s the best part. One more thing on my mind today. I am almost finished with the sweater I am crocheting for myself. It’s a fall or springtime sweater, made of yarn that is part cotton and part bamboo from rayon...or is that rayon from bamboo? Ha! I don’t know. Anyway, it’s wonderfully soft, lightweight, yet heavy enough to keep me warm. I made it a little dressy, but not fancy. I think it will look good with my jeans, and I plan to take it to Pilot. Now, all I need is some prayer warriors to believe with me that I’ll get a dog that does NOT like to chew on cotton things. lol Well, reckon that’s all that is on my mind this sixth day before I leave. Y’all keep praying for us and keep reading. You faithful readers keep my spirits up more often than you know. God bless.

Friday, September 14, 2012

Seven days until...

T minus seven days, and my heart is already breaking. I never dreamed I would feel this guilty. The other day when I told my seven-year-old I would leave in ten days, she wrapped her arms around me and sobbed, “I don’t want you to go!” Right then I was ready to call the whole thing off. How could I leave my babies? I tried explaining to my girls that even though this is a hard thing for all of us, we have to be brave and trust that God has a plan. Of course, that’s easier said than done, especially when you are only seven. What my children do not know is what having a guide dog will mean to their mom. What my girls do not understand is that me being gone for ten days is nothing compared to what other kids go through all the time. A friend of mine won’t see her children for seven months. Reading that on face book really got to me. I mean, seven months! I can’t even imagine it! But, God has a job for everyone, and we can do all things through Christ who strengthens us. But, I digress. Most of y’all probably think I’m making a bigger deal out of it all than necessary. After all, parents leave their kids all the time. Well, not this parent. Quite possibly I could count on both hands the amount of nights I have spent away from my girls. They have spent a few nights with their aunts and grandparents over Christmases, and I had to go in the hospital a couple of times last year. My four-year-old still remembers fearing her mommy would never come home. Y’all, that tears me up! There is a reason for all this madness, though. If there wasn’t, I would not even dream of putting my family through such a trying time. Somewhere, deep in my heart I believe that having a guide dog will be of more help to me in the long run than anything else so far. My husband has enough to do without needing to worry about me, and I’m tired of feeling as if I’m being treated like one of the kids. Maybe, I dream too big, but I’m thinking of shopping trips with just my girls, me and my new dog. Also, once we’re settled back home, I’m thinking that having an animal in the house will help my girls learn not only to care for a dog but how to play with one as well. I’m thinking that a guide dog, as happened with me and my first guide will help us come out of our shells and meet more people. I’m thinking that dog will learn to love my girls and keep an eye out for them when I can’t. So, my suitcase is sitting in the living room waiting to be filled. Yesterday I cleaned out a corner in my bed room for the new dog to sleep in. I went through some old shoes and found an extra pair to take with me. I went through my clothes and have already decided on what to pack. I’m almost ready...almost. Last night my husband said, “You won’t be here for my birthday.” He didn’t sound whiny or anything, but again I felt guilty. The longest he and i have ever been apart was when he went to Disney World for business back in 2004. He was gone three or four days. I’m going to miss him, and he’s going to have a rougher time without someone seeing to all the little things. Hoping to ease everyone’s stress, this girl plans to do up as much laundry as possible. lol Can I tell y’all about one more thing I’m feeling guilty about? No objections? Good. :) Even though I will miss my family, I have to admit that I’m looking forward to taking care of only me for a few days. Sometimes, the day-to-day stuff, laundry, dishes, homeschool, worry about dinner, settling disputes between fighting kids can ware one down until she starts thinking she is only needed for these things and nothing else. I know I’m loved; I know I’m needed, but is what I do appreciated? And, more importantly why am I even wanting to be appreciated when I’m supposed to be a living sacrifice? If I’m doing it all for the glory of God, why does it matter if anyone else appreciates what I do? I’ll admit there’s a little voice inside me that sneaks up and says, “Let them see if they can manage all this without me.” Maybe, I shouldn’t post this, after all. I’m not being very nice, and I’m not real sorry, yet. I asked on face book if anyone wanted to read a blog about my experiences during class at the guide dog school. Many of you said you would. So, now you know what I’m feeling just a week before I take that bus North to Columbus. It’s a little different than when I went to get my first dog. If you want to read that story, check out the previous post called, “A Miracle Named George”. Until next time, pray for us; we could use it.